The Open Table – Testimonies


By Pastor Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor/Pastoral of Missional Living and Leadership Development

In my last post, we let you know about Cuyahoga Valley Church’s involvement with Open Table, coming alongside persons in poverty in order to not just give them a handout but give them a hand up. Read the testimonies below to see how transformational The Open Table has already been.

We have only just begun and my understanding of the challenges facing those I have blindly generalized as “less fortunate” has been revolutionized. The Open Table is for real. New Life happens one life at a time… in many ways, starting with me. It’s clear that this experience is going to be life changing for everyone on the group, not just the sister we are serving. What an amazing, humbling and impactful way to serve and grow in Christ!

Ryan Cole

The Open Table has both opened my eyes to the problem of poverty and shown me how I can use my gifts to do something about it, by fostering real change, one person at a time. Meeting the sister we are helping put a face on the problem of poverty and made it personal to me. Listening to her story broke me and helped me understand the difficult challenges she has had to face in life. I discovered that our circumstances are different, but our hearts are the same. I look forward to using my talents to equip her to meet her challenges successfully, as her heart nurtures my own.

Aaron Schmidt

Serving on the Open Table fulfills part of my personal mission statement about helping Change Lives. Through this experience, I hope to help change the life of our sister, and through that process, my life will be changed. After just a few meetings with her, I am already finding myself to be a more caring, compassionate, and loving person, with a strong desire to use my spiritual gifts to help her grow as a person and sister in Christ.

Joe Haddad

I think many moms with younger children “opt out” of serving, with the excuse that, at this season of their life, they are only to serve their family and raise children who love Jesus. Over the last 6 years, I have had Isaiah 58:5-13 impressed upon my heart over and over and over again. I have felt like our culture tells us to build boundaries to protect our time and our family. Yet God calls us to “pour yourself out”. So, my husband and I responded to the opportunity to serve on The Open Table. While it has only been a month, my children and I have been able to serve our sister together on 3 occasions already, with a fourth time coming this weekend. I am more convinced than ever that this season of raising small children should not be a time to discard serving outside the family in lieu of raising up Godly kids. On the contrary, changing our service to activities that we do alongside of our kids could not be more hand in hand with that effort and calling. Thank you for giving us the opportunity and privilege to pour ourselves out for someone as a way to offer up our living sacrifice.

Joelle Cole

In just a few months I see profound changes not only in our sister’s life, but in the hearts and lives of every individual serving on The Open Table!
Susan Schmidt

Although we are early in the Open Table process, it is becoming clear to me that The Open Table is the most Biblical and consequently appropriate response to local poverty for Christ followers. As far as my personal level of involvement, I have grown from a very casual interest to heavy commitment and I have every reason to believe that this may become a life long ministry along side our brothers and sisters.
Andrew Brown

I have been raised to give of myself. No matter where I am, if I am not giving, it feels strange. Since giving my life to Christ, my eyes are open more to the problems people have. Many times I felt my hands have been tied. I tried to help and did. not know where to turn to help. I felt sick because I could not help. Now, with The Open Table I have a person to help. I know the depth of what she needs. I have a group of God-fearing people that have the answers or will help find them. Praise God for The Open Table and this opportunity. Thanks So Much.

Jan Greathouse

We already have some interest in sponsoring a young adult who finds himself in poverty. We need a few more servant leaders in order to serve this young adult.  If you are interested in serving, please contact our Open Table Congregational Catalyst, John Kerzey.